Last week, NewsBusters reported the peculiar occurrence of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appearing alongside current Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a global warming ad funded by Nobel Laureate Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.
Included in this piece was an explanation the former Speaker offered at his website regarding this matter which sparked largely uncomplimentary reactions in the rightosphere as well as from conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Two days later, Gingrich appeared on Fox News's "O'Reilly Factor," and answered Rush (video embedded right):
I disagree fundamentally with Rush on this question because I believe we have a good case to make. We made it last year in contract with the earth. I'm going to keep making it. We, for example, let's invest in the clean coal plant in Illinois and prove you can use America's natural resources without damaging the environment.
Gingrich answered some of his other critics as well; what follows is a partial transcript of this segment.
You may have noticed there are a series of television commercials running, pairing unlikely people like Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson there. The commercials are produced by Al Gore's company, and are designed to bring awareness to environmental concern s. Now, we got a kick out of seeing the latest one. Nancy Pelosi and Mr. Gingrich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH: Hi, I'm Newt Gingrich, lifelong Republican and I used to be speaker.
GINGRICH: No,, but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change.
PELOSI: We need cleaner forms of energy and we need them fast.
GINGRICH: If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need.
PELOSI: Go to wecansolveit.org. Together we can do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: You know, she's looking rather adoringly at you. You know, it's kind of like Hansel and Gretel there. You know? You guys should have been in leder hosen. I -- she really looks like she likes you.
GINGRICH: What a way to spend a Friday evening getting you raking me over the coals.
O'REILLY: Tell me about Nancy Pelosi. She won't talk to me. In fact, she tried to get me fired because I made a joke out of San Francisco. They didn't want the military. The next time, there was a terror attack around their own. But tell me about Nancy Pelosi? Do you like her? Do you have a cordial relationship with her?
GINGRICH: She is -- look, she is a very tough, very professional, very wealthy, liberal woman who earned becoming speaker. She -- I knew Nancy back when she was the national committee woman before she came to Congress. She worked very hard as a liberal Democrat. She is about 70 miles to the left of me. And she's a tough professional. We're not personal friends but I respect that she managed to get to be Speaker of the House.
O'REILLY: Honest woman?
GINGRICH: But I want to say something, Bill, that's going to surprise you maybe. I believe conservatives have got to get in the habit of being right on the same stage and being prepared to debate what are the right things to do about the environment. And I don't think standing offstage and yelling no is a strategy.
O'REILLY: Well, that's what you write in your "Real Change." And that's why, you know, I think the book's a bestseller, because we have to engage the issue of, you know, the environment. It's an important I ssue. And everybody should want a cleaner planet.
Now whether God is causing global warming or it's the carbons, nobody knows, but I agree with you.
But let's get back to Pelosi for a moment. She is a very, very left- wing woman, but she represents the most radical part of the country. Do her -- does she really believe in income redistribution and a soft approach to terrorism and all these other things? Does she believe that?
GINGRICH: I suspect she does. There was a terrific book in 2004 by two economist reporters called "The Right Country" in which they explain America. And they compared Speaker Pelosi's district and speaker Hastert's district. And they pointed out that San Francisco is different from almost anywhere else in America.
So, I mean, here's a person who goes back home, all of her major donors are on the left, all of her social activities on the left, all of her conversations are on the left. I suspect, you know, I mean, I happen to think that a lot of that stuff is nuts, but I think that probably she sincerely now is so surrounded by that, that she believes it. I don't think she's insincere.
O'REILLY: But here's - you know, if I could interview her, I would say look, you were very nice to the pope, Mrs. Speaker. And you're a Roman Catholic. You were raised that way. You still go to church.
And now you're the biggest pro-abortion person in the country. I mean, how do you -- what is that? You know, those are the kinds of things with Nancy Pelosi that I'm like I don't get it. I don't understand it at all. Can you reconcile that?
GINGRICH: No, there's not a question of reconciling. There's a whole generation of liberals who made a series of decisions that their secular values were more important than their religious values. And that's where they are. That's who they are.
I mean, I can - I actually respect the integrity of her position, because she would say bluntly that she disagrees with the pope. Now I'll let you get involved in what that means from a Catholic hierarchical perspective. But I think that she is an honest, hardline left wing to the left of normal liberalism. And I think that that is an accurate reflection of the district that she represents. It's very dangerous for the Democratic party because it means that their national leader is probably 40 points to the left of the country.
O'REILLY: All right. But she did like you. I just noticed that on the couch. She had that look. Limbaugh says you were wrong to do this. Gave you jazz and said you're playing into the hands of what Limbaugh considers the enemy. 30 seconds.
GINGRICH: I disagree fundamentally with Rush on this question because I believe we have a good case to make. We made it last year in contract with the earth. I'm going to keep making it. We, for example, let's invest in the clean coal plant in Illinois and prove you can use America's natural resources without damaging the environment.
O'REILLY: All right, Mr. Speaker. "Real Change", "Day of Infamy" coming out. Thanks very much.